Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

26. English vineyard

Peter Hall tending his vines at Breaky Bottom Vineyard, Rodmell, Near Lewes, Sussex, England, UK Britain

Last year, English sparkling wine came second in the medals table of the inaugural Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. The area of vines planted in England and Wales in the past 10 years has more than doubled and even The Queen serves homegrown bubbly at state banquets. The chalky soils around the North and South Downs is prime terroir for this revolution—they’re only about 90 miles north of Champagne and the home of Dom Pérignon and Krug—and warming temperatures are suiting the traditional grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Expect more awards and rising sales.

‘I imagine Hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine’
(Peter Ustinov’s putdown no longer works)

Next page Previous page